Sports Spotlight: Elliott Gerhardt
BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - You’ve probably heard the line, “it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ball game,” some of them are not strikes unless the umpire says so.
In this week’s Sports Spotlight, we meet the only person in North Dakota to reach elite status twice. He’s softball umpire Elliott Gerhardt.
Elliott Gerhardt is in an umpiring class of his own.
“You know, I started out as just about every umpire started out. I started to make some extra money and after doing it for a few months, I realized this is fun. And, a few years later I realized that I found a niche in life. I love what I am doing. I’m pretty good at it, and they pay me at the end of it. So, I’m not working. I am enjoying myself,” said Gerhardt.
After earning Elite status in slowpitch softball last year, Gerhardt achieved elite status in fastpitch this year.
“Elliot is the first person in North Dakota, there are only two people in our region that consists of five states, and there’s probably less than 100 in the whole United States that have achieved elite status in both slowpitch and fastpitch,” said Mike Wolf, North Dakota umpire-in-chief.
Gerhardt wants to use his new status to help other umpires achieve the same thing.
Gerhardt said: “It means a lot in the sense of the word that it is an accomplishment that I worked for, and I made it. What it means overall is that I want to get other guys there. I want to get other umpires to get their elites and help them get their tournaments that they want to get to.”
Gerhardt is all too familiar with the critique umpires receive from fans, and would love to mentor anyone interested in giving it a try.
“Until you step behind the plate, it’s a different game. You see it differently, different angles, but that’s what makes it fun to learn. And, going out you are competing right along with the kids or the adults that are playing. There is team A, Team B, and the officials.”
With such an impressive softball resume, Wolf believes Gerhardt will be enshrined at the sports highest level.
Wolf said: “Well, I have written a lot of letters of recommendations for people to get into the hall of fame. They have all been one page letters but mine would definitely be more than one page for Elliot, because there is just so many good things about him. Because as we talked about, it’s not just about accomplishments on the field, it’s accomplishments off the field as well. And, sometimes that is just as important or more important when you look at somebody’s quality and character.”
When we asked Gerhardt how long he plans on umpiring, Gerhardt pointed out that Walt Stack was behind the plate until he was 82, so that’s his goal.
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